Elena delved into her bag, grabbed her new glitter lip gloss and walked over to the mirror to apply it. She loved Fridays; clubbing with the girls was a weekly ritual. As she looked at her image, it appeared hazy around the edges. Raising her left hand, she stroked down her sleek hairstyle to smooth it, but it made no difference to her reflection.
Elena reached for a tissue, moved closer and polished the mirror with it, removing a fine layer of dust. When she finished she stepped back and looked once more. Her eyes narrowed, furrows creased between her brows, and her lips pursed; if anything her image was more blurred than before.
Walking from the bedroom, Elena crossed the hall and entered the bathroom. She moved over to the mirror above the basin and studied her reflection. A gasp rocketed from her lips – not only were the edges fuzzy, her image had an ethereal quality. “What the hell?” The lip gloss slipped from her fingers and clattered on the porcelain as the blood in her veins turned to ice. Countless emotions trampled through her head like a stampeding herd – confusion being the dominant one.
Squeezing her eyes tightly together, she willed everything to be normal again. Elena slowly opened her eyes and looked at herself; there was less substance to her outline than before, it was as if she were fading away before her very eyes. She shook her head in denial. Somebody had to be playing a joke on her – surely.
Elena turned away. She left the room, ran downstairs and into the lounge, stopping in front of the large ornate mirror that had once belonged to her grandmother. No-one would dare mess with this mirror, she thought, then slowly raised her eyes to gaze on her countenance. “NO!” The word exploded from her lips. She dropped her face into her hands and turned away, but what she saw seared into her brain like a branding iron.
She stumbled across the room and flopped onto the sofa. Her eyes pricked with tears she could not shed and shivers coursed through her limbs. Her breath hitched in her throat, a sob shattered the silence. Elena inhaled deeply; it felt wrong somehow, but she began to drift toward calm. She steeled herself. She needed to find an explanation for why her latest reflection was so transparent she could see objects through the image.
A thought popped unbidden into her mind; was this strange phenomena connected to the enigmatic stranger she met at the club last Friday? She struggled to recall the events of the evening…
She remembered dancing with a gorgeous hunk, who had the most mesmerising eyes she’d ever seen, before leaving the club with him. He walked her home and they arranged to meet the following evening. Stefan was a perfect gentleman; they went for a drive in the country arriving at a small wood with a lovely clearing edged with flowers. Stefan had spread a blanket on the grass and pulled out a picnic hamper containing various delicious pastries and a bottle of red wine.
Elena couldn’t recall him eating anything, but they consumed the delicious honeyed wine and opened a second bottle. He was good company and had an olde worlde charm. Their first kiss had been passionate yet sweet, as were the ones that followed. It was strange – she couldn’t remember the drive home – her next memory was waking the following morning.
She had seen Stefan the next night; he came to her house and brought more of the delectable wine. His kisses that night were so deep, so ardent, the spirit of his desire mingled with hers yet he remained a gentleman, leaving her wanting more.
Wednesday evening Stefan came over, again armed with the same wine. His embrace left her breathless as his lips travelled from her wrist to her shoulder, across her collarbone, up her neck and across to meet hers. Strangely, Elena couldn’t remember much else about the night. She did remember the light hurt her eyes the next morning, sending shooting pains through her head and compelling her to wear sunglasses all day for two days running. Yet now the day had drifted into dusk, her eyes were fine.
Elena pondered. Did Stefan have anything to do with this? A chuckle escaped her lips – how could he? He hadn’t done anything to her except kiss her. She stood and crossed to the mirror once more. She inhaled sharply. All she could see was the room reflected back and no sign of her at all.
A faint brush of fabric sounded in her ears and she whirled around. A startled cry rushed from her throat; Stefan stood behind her, a gentle smile gracing his lips. He opened his arms and drew her to him, enveloping her in his tight embrace. Elena snuggled into him as a sense of peace rolled through her.
“Oh, Stefan, I’ve been so scared. I don’t understand what’s happening to me,” her soft voice calmer than the words belied.
“Hush, darling, you are with me now . . . forever.”